Huge queues for Pope John Paul II sainthood souvenirs
PR dla Zagranicy
The National Bank of Poland (NBP) has been deluged with customers hoping to purchase commemorative coins issued to mark the canonisation of Pope John Paul II on 27 April.
Poles queue up outside the main branch of the National Bank of Poland in Warsaw, Tuesday. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaminski
Some 1.7 million special coins have been minted for the occasion, and neither rain nor prohibitive prices have put customers off joining the queues.
The most costly souvenirs are the 500 zloty coins (119 euros), which are being sold by the bank for 7800 zloty apiece (1863 euros), although reports have already surfaced of examples being offered for much higher prices over the internet.
Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaminski
Only 966 of the 500 zloty coins were minted, marking the year when Poland's medieval ruler Mieszko I was baptised.
With a diameter of 10cm and a weight of 1 kg, the silver coin is considerably heftier than the coins usually jingling inside Poles' pockets.
Coins have also been released in smaller denominations: 100 zloty, 10 zloty and 2 zloty.
Pope John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla, served as Krakow's archbishop before being elected to the papacy on 16 October 1978.
He died on 2 April 2005, and the canonisation will take place at the Vatican on 27 April. (nh)